Citizen scientists awarded for mapping local reef

8 August 2018

An army of volunteer divers and researchers have won an environmental award for a project mapping the health of a reef off the South-East Queensland coast.

The University of Queensland Underwater Club, UniDive, was awarded the 2018 Healthy Land and Water’s Environmental Guardians Award.

The project involved more than 560 dives to train citizen scientists and collect, map and publish information on Flinders Reef, north of Moreton Island.

Volunteer project organiser, Dr Chris Roelfsema from UQ’s School of Environmental and Earth Sciences, was delighted with the award, a result of more than 10,000 volunteer hours.

“I’m incredibly proud of all of the UniDive volunteers, as well as the high-quality data we’ve collected,” he said.

“We found that the reef has astonishing coral cover, with a variety of fish and invertebrates, and low impacts compared to other reefs in South-East Queensland.

“It was no mean feat, but 50 UniDive volunteers conquered sea and weather, and used their own time, boats, equipment and expertise to conduct 400 dives to assess the reef’s condition and create its first detailed map.”

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